Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 Review – More of the Same, But Better.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is a side-scrolling platformer released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The sequel to 2018’s Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, this Castlevania-throwback experience features new characters, stages, and even 2-player co-op. Having recently beaten the game’s Final Chapter, I’ll briefly discuss the best and not-so-best parts of ArtPlay and IntiCreates’ latest title.

For anyone wondering, Koji Igarashi‘s studio, ArtPlay, developed the spiritual successor to Castlevania, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Inti Creates, known for Mega Man Zero and Gunvolt, developed the 8-bit Curse of the Moon titles. While they feature similar characters and settings, Curse of the Moon’s storyline spins off from Ritual of the Night’s. Thus, the two are not interetwined.

While I find CotM 2 to be quite an improvement over the first game, I think it still clings to some of the previous title’s fundamental flaws. For one, I don’t really need an excuse to replay a game just for a few different gimmicks. If I want to replay the game, i would rather do it on my own terms instead of being cheesed into unlocking the true ending. That aside, however, its presentation offers a stellar job with boss battles, levels, and gameplay.

Story

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 follows the plot of the first title. However, Zangetsu is now accompanied by new companions. These include Dominique, the exorcist from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a sniper named Robert, and a mech-piloting corgi named Hachi.

The story’s straightforward narrative involves going to a castle and slaying the demons to save the world. However, it takes some interesting twists within the game’s replay formula. Each one follows an ending, a new chapter, and an opening. Each of these chapters also affects the lineup of your party.

While little changes regarding the level designs, the final boss will be altered in both Chapter 2 and the Final Chapter. There are four different chapters and the final one features the true ending. Additionally, some of the dialogue among party members ends up rather humorous. Between that and the cutscenes that play between chapters, it becomes a bit more worth replaying the chapters with a slight change of pace.

Audiovisual

Much like its predecessor, Bloodstained follows the classic NES Castlevania aesthetic. The 8-bit title features an array of gorgeous colors and boss animations. Similar to Shovel Knight, the game presents various levels, bosses, and design choices far surpassing the NES’ own capabilities.

The chiptune music provides a selection of fast-paced music fitting for a Castlevania-esque title. I found the tunes to be catchy and at times quite engaging, such as The Demon’s Crown. I was also quite fond of the boss theme.

Gameplay

The 2D action gameplay features platforming, the ability to switch between multiple characters, and exploring non-linear stages. This means you can choose different paths to clear the stage depending on the characters you have available. Additionally, each character has their own playstyle.

Unfortunately, I was not at all fond of using Robert. While he served to be a sniper with long-range capabilities, he had no way of protecting himself up close. He felt woefully out of place in this game since his mechanics made clearing stages or bosses extremely difficult if not impossible.

Another slight issue I had was with Zangetsu. He gains a more powerful sword later in the game which gives him vertical slashe and multi-strikes. After Chapter 2, however, if the player didn’t hunt down the secret sword, they would lose it to the basic Zanmatou in the EX Episode. I feel downgrading abilities from a player is a big no-no.

Bloodstained also once again goes the route of “beat game and replay” ad nauseam. They try to write a different chapter of the tale but you’re really just repeating the game again with a slightly different roster in the 2nd chapter or the CotM 1 cast in the EX Chapter. By the final chapter, you have everyone, albeit briefly, to collect parts to reach the final level. But you’re just doing the same stages over again.

The developers would benefit greatly from creating more new stages to go with each stage rather than force the player to do the same game four times to get the final ending. Sonic Heroes is one example of a game that makes the player replay the exact same game, with slight differences, just to get the best ending.

Final Thoughts

I will admit that I greatly enjoyed the co-op in this title. The 2-player co-op allows players to jump in and exit anytime. While it’s limited to offline play, it still offers players to work together to defeat bosses or even access hidden areas.

Another good part was the difficulty level. The Veteran difficulty was tough as nails. Casual Mode offers its own challenge as the stage layout and enemies don’t change. After Episode 2, I switched to Casual Mode because I didn’t feel any need to play the same game again. I just wanted to finish the story. Furthermore, the bosses just become HP sponges on later chapters and it’s no longer enjoyable to fight them and mimic the same pattern each time.

Bloodstained does a great job of presenting a classic 2D platforming experience. However, it still relies heavily on gimmicks like forced replay or unbalanced characters in a side-scroller. Even compared to Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, it was at least possible to solo the game with Trevor, Sypha, Grant, or Alucard.

Despite these mild shortcomings, Circle of the Moon 2 is well-worth the purchase. Even if it’s just one playthrough, you’ll surely find an enjoyable challenge and experience through the title. If you’re missing classic 2D Castlevania action or just enjoyed the first Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon title, it’s recommended giving it a try. I found the level designs to be vastly improved and more varied than the first Curse of the Moon title.

Whether you decide to continue with the replay chapters or not is up to you. However, I recommend at least playing through it once to all classic gaming fans who seek a real challenge.

Verdict: 8/10

WB Games Features Gotham Knights at DC Fandome.

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. hosted the DC Fandome. Featuring a multitude of multimedia DC previews for games, movies, comics, and TV series, this weekend event functioned as a virtual-con. In this article, we’re going to cover WB Games Montreal’s latest title, Gotham Knights.

Believe it or not, what seems like a continuation of Rocksteady Games‘ Batman Arkham series is, in fact, not connected at all. The trailer shows the events following Batman’s death as well as Commissioner Gordon’s. Despite the similarities to the Batman Arkham titles, this will not be de eloped by Rocksteady Games. Rather, they are handling another DC title, namely Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

What to Expect

Much like its sister title, Gotham Knights will feature four titular characters battling it out in the streets of Gotham City. The game stars Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. The game will feature an open world from the get-go without locking players behind levels.

Moreover, this also means co-op play is available. According to the above video, players can also play the same character as their partner. Character slots will not be taken up for those who enjoy the same hero.

Despite not being developed by Rocksteady Games, Gotham Knights certainly feels like a successor to the Batman Arkham titles. The dynamic camera angles, the beat ’em up action, and the dialogue echoes the last decade’s familiar action with the Dark Knight. Note that the developer, WB Games Montreal, previously developed Batman: Arkham Origins, a prequel to the Arkham series.

Multiplayer

It’s worth pointing out that Gotham Knights will, in fact, feature 2-player online co-op. The title will not feature split-screen couch co-op nor will it feature 4-player co-op. However, this brings hope to the beat ’em up fans of the world. With a genre long-thought dead, Gotham Knights returns that faith once more.

Whereas the past Batman titles featured single-player only, this opens up the possibilities for team combos and other co-op moves. For fans of the beat ’em up genre, the online co-op addition will be a huge boon for the title. With the variety of character battling styles, this will open up varieties of playstyles for each player as well.

Furthermore, the title will feature RPG elements such as building EXP. You’ll also gain special skills to unlock throughout the game. We will keep you updated with more as we find out. For now, be sure to check this list put together on the trailer breakdown for Gotham Knights.

Final Thoughts

It feels wonderful getting not one, but two Batman-related titles in the DC Universe coming soon. The Batman Arkham titles are some of the best games ever released. And especially with both the recent release of Marvel’s Spider-Man and the upcoming sequel, featuring Miles Morales, it’s a great time to be a fan of superhero games.

Gotham Knights will arrive on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC in 2021. Keep up with AllCoolThings as we deliver to you the latest news on the title.

As always, make sure you hit the Follow button on our social media links below. Take our latest gaming info, reviews, and editorials with you on the go!

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Madookie Cospoop: Pictorial

I think Madookie Cospoop might be the only cosplayer featured because I saw a sponsored link on Facebook.  In a lot of ways, she is typical for a cosplayer in 2020.  She’s looking for a following, and she’s not afraid to outright work for it.  However, she’s also quite friendly and approachable to her admirers and fans; this means cosplay gold.

Please enjoy her pictorial, and as always, if you really like this article, please comment, share, and do the same for Madookie Cospoop

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Madookie Cospoop: Cosplayer Score Card

Cosplay Name: Madookie Cospoop

How You Came Up With Name: My deep love for Madoka Magica

Other Known Aliases: not that I know of! I’m Prati

Base of Operations: NY

Years Cosplaying: 8 years! Since I was 16

First Cosplay: Matyroshka Gumi

First Con: DC Sakura matsuri in 2011 if that counts or first proper con is Katsucon 2011

Cons per Year: 2

Make Your Own Costume: some of them!

Make Your Own Props: some of them

Do Your Own Hair: I wear wigs

Do Your Own Makeup: yes!

Do Your Own Wig Styling: yes~

Makes Your Own Wigs: nope

Bodypaints: never done any

Favourite Cosplay: Succubus (OC)

Number of times you have been to Dragon Con: never been!

Patreon, Ko-fi, Onlyfans, Etsy, and/or Support Link: I don’t have any support pages but if you really want to just DM my cosplay page 💖

Lewds: Nope

Nudes: I don’t have any

More than Nudes: how do you go past noods like super nudes? Ahahaha

Social Media: @madookie insta/facebook @madookies on Twitter!

Domain of Your Own: not yet :>

Secret Super Power: I‘m great with socializing pet mice 💗

Why Skies of Arcadia Deserves to Be Remastered on Modern Consoles.

Sega‘s heralded JRPG, Skies of Arcadia, originally released for the Dreamcast in 2000. When the Sega Dreamcast ended its early run in the console market, Sega opted to port some of its hit Dreamcast titles to consoles of the era. Among them included the JRPG, rebranded now as Skies of Arcadia: Legends, for the Nintendo GameCube.

Skies of Arcadia starts the Sky Pirate, Vyse, and his childhood friend, Fina. They’re Sky Pirates initially taking jobs before fighting against the Valuan Empire. Along the way, they meet Fina, a girl from the Silver Civilization, and more companions along the way. During their resistance against the empire, they’ll build a crew for their airship, fight through dungeons, and even battle airships.

While Skies of Arcadia was loved for its character design, soundtrack, and setting, hindsight is only 20/20. Despite its wondrous and popular aesthetic, Skies of Arcadia suffered from some more common JRPG flaws, These will appear later in the article.

While Skies of Arcadia has only made cameo appearances in Sega titles since the GameCube release, players want to revisit this world again. Ideally, perhaps Sega could not just re-release the title for modern consoles but remaster it with modern quality-of-life improvements.

Rogue’s Landing stage from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. (2012)

What Made Skies of Arcadia Special

People embraced Skies of Arcadia for its character design, music, and unique setting. Unlike any other game past, you were a Sky Pirate who sailed across the sky. The world was divided by islands and you used an airship to explore.

Its battle system entailed the use of SP. In addition to MP for magic spells, SP offered another layer of depth. These powerful strikes offered impressive cinematics while your character unleashed a devastating blow on the enemy.

The locales, the characters, and even having a pirate crew charmed its players. Perhaps also due to its limited releases, its novelty value remains high among its fans.

What a Proper Remaster Could Entail

Despite its best intentions, Skies of Arcadia suffered from its own series of flaws. Even though Legends attempted to lower the encounter rate, in comparison to other JRPGs, it was still considerably high. It was also no secret that the player would get lost at times without consulting a guide.

Skies of Arcadia’s ship battles moved like molasses. Thanks to the over-emphasis on cutscenes, the animations, and long HP bars could make fights take up to 45 minutes long. This was followed by a boss battle which, if you lost, you would have to do all over again.

The title does not need to focus on improving aesthetics outside of your usual HD Remaster such as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. Rather, some quality of life improvements would breathe new life into the game.

ACT FFX HD Remaster Comparison
Final Fantasy X (2001, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (2013, 2015)

Final Thoughts

I feel ambivalent towards Skies of Arcadia. On one hand, I love its characters, especially Gilder, Fina, and Vyse. On the other hand, it was a slog to play through. I hated that I lost near the final boss fight because I was under-leveled and forced to grind.

Despite this, I know it has the potential to be an even better game. I would love to see it return, better than before, by Sega’s grace. Whether through an HD Remaster, remake, or even a sequel, here’s hoping Sega will revisit the Blue Rogues once more.

Did you play Skies of Arcadia or Legends? Let us know in the replies below. As always, be sure to follow our social media pages below to bring the latest gaming content with you!

 

 

Hello, readers!  I just to say that SEGA Forever was buzzing a little bit about Skies or Arcadia.  While this isn’t a guaranty, we thought it might show promise.

‘Sorry to people that thought that my promotion of the article made this click bait.  It wasn’t my intention or John Rinyu’s fault.

‘Sorry for any confusion and/or frustration.

-HERETICPRIME

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Mishamai: Pictorial

Mishamai was one of the few cosplayers that I didn’t post before because for one reason or another, I could not get her interview questions back.  Since that’s not such a strict requirement, anymore, reselected the photos I had already gathered of her and fished some newer ones from her Facebook to make the pictorial up to date.

I not only enjoyed Mishamai’s art, but I appreciated her very unique body that she has worked hard to maintain, as well.

We have quite a big gallery, here, so enjoy!

-HERETICPRIME

Why Hasn’t Ninja Gaiden Resurfaced in Years?

KoeiTecmo and Team Ninja‘s legendary action series, Ninja Gaiden, debuted on the Arcades and the NES in 1988. While the former was an arcade beat ’em up, the latter featured a trilogy of Castlevania-inspired platformers. As a result, Ninja Gaiden saw success with its NES trilogy.

Ninja Gaiden (1988) was among the first video games to feature cutscenes.

However, after the initial release of the series, as well as the SNES remake, Ninja Gaiden fell off the map. Despite Team Ninja’s decision to put Ryu Hayabusa into their hit Dead or Alive fighting game series, Ninja Gaiden would remain buried for more than a decade. However, two years after the release of Capcom’s popular 3D action title, Devil May Cry, Team Ninja decided to bring Ryu Hayabusa back from the dead.

Ninja Gaiden Rebooted

Featuring similar action, yet fine-tuned with incredible speed and bloodier animation, Ninja Gaiden came out on Xbox in 2004. Known for its ruthless difficulty, the title was followed shortly after by two successful re-releases: Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden Sigma, the latter which was an HD-upscaled release for PlayStation 3.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus (2012)

Ninja Gaiden would become a hit 3D Action series throughout the 2000s. Team Ninja would follow up with 2008’s Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360. Unfortunately, internal issues would force series Producer, Tomonobu Itagaki, out from Team Ninja. His colleague, Yosuke Hayashi, was in charge of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and the sequel, Ninja Gaiden III.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (2009)

Unfortunately, Ninja Gaiden III would release to poor reviews. While Team Ninja released Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for Nintendo DS, they also opted to release Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge for the Wii U. Despite the momentum the series carried with its first two games, even the re-release, Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge, would scarcely fair any better.

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword (2008)

The Future of Ninja Gaiden

Since 2013, Ninja Gaiden has not seen a new game released on any platform. Team Ninja has since focused heavily on the Dead or Alive series. One theory might suggest that Ninja Gaiden III’s poor reception has kept Team Ninja from wanting to risk releasing another title.

Another theory might come from Team Ninja exerting their efforts into their latest hit series, Nioh. Derived from Japanese mythology and history, Nioh took the elements of Dark Souls while adding its own hardcore take. Furthermore, it features its own set of references and Easter Eggs.

Now that Nioh 2 has been released, Team Ninja may have freed up their schedule. While Nioh 2’s DLC will still come out over the next year, players want to know if they will return to Ninja Gaiden. With a new console generation coming, players want to return to playing as the world’s most badass ninja.

Keep in mind that the time span between Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (NES) and Ninja Gaiden (Xbox) spanned 13 years. While only seven years have passed since the release of Razor’s Edge, one can only hope that Team Ninja has not forgotten about their stellar action series that helped put them on the map.

Which Ninja Gaiden title was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow our social media channels below for the latest gaming content to take with you!

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Mishamai: Cosplayer Score Card

Cosplay Name: Mishamai

Base of Operations: Austin, Texas

Years Cosplaying: Under a year

First Cosplay: Tora (Tiger) from Juuni Taisen

First Con: Ushicon in Austin years ago when I was in high school; first con as a cosplayer was San Japan 2018

Cons per Year: This will be the first full year trying to hit cons and I have 4 done/confirmed for 2019.

Make Your Own Costume: I usually buy since it’s cheaper and faster and cosplays these days are so well-made and accessible, but I alter or make what I can’t buy like certain accessories or weapons. Costumes I have to make from scratch are usually my husbands since he’s a larger size and loves more obscure characters but it’s a great chance for me to practice and learn.

Make Your Own Props: Ones I can’t purchase, yes, so usually my weapons.

Do Your Own Hair: yes

Do Your Own Makeup: yes

Do Your Own Wig Styling: yes

Makes Your Own Wigs: I haven’t had to for any of my characters yet but I was ready to cut and sew two wigs together for Black Hole-Chan. Funnily enough, I really just had to wear one wig on top of the other so I could reuse the wigs if needed.

Bodypaints: accent body paint for Nidalee and Rena

Favourite Cosplay: I have the most fun as Chun Li but I’m also very proud of my Nidalee and Rena as they’ve been my longer builds to date.

Number of times you have been to Dragon Con: none

Patreon, Ko-fi, Etsy, and/or Support Link: patreon.com/Mishamai has all my links to socials and support in the overview!

Lewds: yes

Nudes: no

More than Nudes: no

Social Media: Instagram.com/Mishamai and Twitter.com/IGMishamai are my mains. (She also has a Facebook.)

Domain of Your Own: Mishamai.com for merch, con schedule, and links to my socials

Secret Super Power: that I want or that I have? Some may consider my bodybuilding and powerlifting Super Strength. Some have also considered I have the ability to stop time because I get so much done in my 24 hours that it seems like I have 48 haha

Rocksteady Games Showcases New Game – Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

Warner Bros. Entertainment recently featured their DC Fandome. The virtual-con event showcased a plethora of DC Comics properties with new releases. From comics to movies to video games, there was a place for everyone who watched.

One game of note was Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Developed by Batman Arkham series developers, Rocksteady Studios, this title will take place in the Arkham-verse while featuring the titular Suicide Squad. DC villains who’ve banded together will take the fight to the Justice League. As you play as Harley Quinn and her associates, you’ll be coming against the DC Universe superheroes.

What to Expect

The Suicide Squad comes face to face with Superman at the end of the trailer. However, this version of Superman kills a man as his eyes glow red. This is not the first time a DC game toyed with the idea of an “evil” Superman. One prime and recent example includes Netherrealm StudiosInjustice series. While the Justice League is under the control of Brainiac, Amanda Waller summons the Suicide Squad to deal with the League.

This new Suicide Squad game will be a series first. While members of the Squad have appeared in the Injustice series and the Batman Arkham titles, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will band them together for the first time. Longtime Harley Quinn voice actress, Tara Strong, will reprise her role.

Along with four characters, Suicide Squad will feature 4-player co-op. While you can opt to play solo, this feels similar to how Marvel Ultimate Alliance will allow you to play as superbeings with others. We’ll keep you posted on how this gameplay will work as details become more apparent.

Skip ahead to 9:49 if you want to get to the interview with the director of Suicide Squad, and past Batman Arkham titles, Sefton Hill.

Final Thoughts

When I first saw the subtitle, it sounded too silly to be real. On the flip side, even Marvel did this before with their own comic arc. I’m specifically referring to a storyline featuring Deadpool.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (2012)

What makes this more interesting to consider is that the Suicide Squad aren’t people with such powers as to take on a godlike Kryptonian. They’re assassins and human beings.

With that being said, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will launch in 2022 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. Be sure to keep up with AllCoolThings for the latest info on WB Games and Rocksteady Studios’ upcoming title.

Finally, follow us on the links below to take our latest gaming features, reviews, and editorials with you!

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Tatted Poodle: Pictorial

Another cosplayer that I had problems getting her interview questions back from, Tatted Poodle is a cosplayer that I am happy to share with you all.

BTW, if you are familiar with her video that went semi-viral (the one of her duet of Song 2 with a metalhead), I was the one that suggested she do it, and I have the screenshot to prove it!

Enjoy the pictorial!

-HERETICPRIME